Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Snake Plant): Care and Growing Guide (Sansevieria Trifasciata)

Snake plant, also known as Sansevieria Trifasciata, is a popular houseplant that belongs to the mother-in-law’s tongue. Low light, drought, and neglect are all characteristics of this hardy indoor succulent plant. Long, upright sword-shaped green leaves with yellow edges distinguish the snake plant.

How to care for a Sansevieria Trifasciata: Most light conditions support the mother-in-law tongue, which grows well on loamy soil with average humidity. When the soil is dry, water the snake plant on occasion. Between 70°F and 90°F (21°C and 32°C), grow them. During the growing season, apply fertilizer once a month.

The blooming Sansevieria plants, native to Africa’s tropical regions, are known as mother-in-law plants. Long, stiff leaves cover the Mother-in-Law Tongue plant. These leaves may grow to be between 28″ and 35″ (70–90 cm) tall and emerge vertically from the ground. The snake plant’s leaves may grow to be up to 6.5 feet (2 meters) tall while they grow outside. Sansevieria trifasciata is one of several species with long pointed leaves.

The leaves of most snake plant cultivars are dark green with grayish patterns and a brilliant yellow border. Sansevieria trifasciata is the botanical name for mother-in-law’s tongue. But, botanists renamed it Dracaena trifasciata in 2017. Snake plant, viper’s bowstring hemp, and St. Johns wort are some other names for the plant. The sword wielded by George. Mother-in-law tongue cultivars are also available.

The species Sansevieria trifasciata is the subject of this care guide. You’ll learn about some of the intriguing cultivars of this tropical plant species at the conclusion of the article.

Mother-in-Law’s Tongue Flowers

The flowering plant Sansevieria trifasciata has white blooms (left) and orange fruits (right). Long flower stalks covered in buds bloom from the plant. Blossoming buds create magnificent white or cream-colored blooms. The pleasant fragrance is created by the little clusters of lily-like white blooms. In the spring, mother-in-law’s language blooms.

These Sansevieria species don’t usually bloom indoors. Mother-in-law tongue plants are usually only seen to bloom when they’re somewhat rootbound and in the right conditions. The fragile white blooms become orange berries if you are lucky enough to witness mother-in-law’s tongue blooming.

Benefits of Mother-in-Law’s Tongue Houseplant

According to NASA research, a mother-in-law’s tongue plant (Sansevieria) may filter pollutants from the air, among other things. This kind of snake plant helps to eliminate airborne chemicals such as benzene, formaldehyde, xylene, and nitrogen oxide, which is why it’s useful. It’s an ideal plant to keep in your bedroom because mother-in-law’s tongue can clean the air and flourish in low light.

Mother-in-Law’s Tongue Care Guide

Mother-in-law’s tongue is a tough, low-maintenance houseplant that thrives on neglect. Keep it in partial shade or low light, water when the soil dries, and make sure the roots never get waterlogged to care for this Sansevieria plant. The fact that it’s resistant to pests is helped by proper plant care. Let’s take a closer look at how to take care of a mother-in-law’s tongue plant at home.

Light Requirements to Grow Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Snake Plant) Indoors

Snake plant thrives in shaded environments but can also handle low-light situations. They like bright light, but they’re sheltered from it. The variegation stays vibrant by keeping the plant in a bright spot. In addition to bright spots, Sansevieria plants may be found in shaded areas, portions of your home.

The most essential light care demand is to keep the mother-in-law’s mouth out of direct sunlight. You may see that the growth of a mother-in-law’s tongue plant is influenced by maintaining it in low lighting. All plants, including Sansevierias, need a certain amount of light to thrive.

Dull leaf colors, weak growth, and foliage that appear thin can all result from insufficient light. The leaves of the mother-in-law’s tongue plant may become crisp and yellow if sunlight is too strong. Moving the plant away from the window in these situations may help you adjust the light. You may also keep the Sansevieria safe from sunlight behind a sheer curtain.

The Best Type of Soil for Snake Plants

Because they like a loose potting soil mix with excellent drainage, mother-in-law’s tongue plants are a type of succulent. Cactus potting soil is an excellent potting medium for growing Sansevieria plants at home. The water should drain quickly from the bottom of the container for a Sansevieria to thrive. Peat is best avoided because it retains too much moisture.

How to Water Mother-in-Law’s Tongue Houseplant

Only water your snake plant when the soil is mostly dry, since it is a succulent. Only when the soil is mostly dry should you water the mother-in-law’s tongue. Pour enough water into the snake plant pot to drain through the drainage holes until it is hydrated. Wait until the land has dried out before watering. Check the moisture in your snake plant’s soil on a regular basis to determine if the mother in law plant requires water.

It’s preferable to water fewer times than to over-water because mother-in-law’s tongue plants can endure some drought. Root rot can be caused by overwatering a snake plant. Since the leaves will be yellow and mushy at the base, you’ll know if you’ve overwatered your snake plant.

The Right Temperature for Mother-in-Law’s Tongue

In typical room temperatures, Sansevieria trifasciata thrives. Don’t let the temperature indoors drop below 70°F (21°C) for optimal growth. Mother-in-law tongue plants, on the other hand, can survive temperatures of up to 50°F (10°C). If you are warm enough and feel comfortable, you know if your snake plant’s temperature is right.

Sansevieria trifasciata doesn’t grow well in drafts, despite the fact that it’s difficult to kill. Therefore, keep away from air vents, open windows, and air-conditioner airflow. Make sure the snake plant pot isn’t near a hot radiator in the winter, or it may wilt and have droopy leaves.

USDA zone 10 to 12 cultivars of mother-in-law’s tongue thrive outdoors. The plant should be fine as long as the temperature is above 55°F (12°C). But, keep in mind that they prefer warmer temperatures. Put your potted snake plant in a shady area with a temperature of 70°F (21°C) or higher if you want to keep it outside during the summer.

Humidity Requirements for Mother-in-Law’s Tongue

Since average room humidity is sufficient, Mother-in-Law’s Tongue thrives. You shouldn’t be concerned about humidity levels as long as you water the Sansevieria properly. You may occasionally wipe the leaves with a moist cloth to keep them clean.

How to Fertilize Mother-in-Law’s Tongue and Other Snake Plants

Since they grow at a steady pace, mother-in-law’s tongue plants don’t require much food. Fertilize lightly in the growing season with a half-strength solution. The proper nutrients for healthy development are provided by a balanced cactus fertilizer. In the spring and summer, feed the snake plant every month, then in the winter, no feeding.

Mother-in-Law’s Tongue Growth Rate

The growth rate of mother-in-law’s language is slow. Sansevieria trifasciata grows up to three feet tall indoors, depending on the cultivar and growing conditions. In comparison to snakes that grow in shaded habitats, those that grow in bright habitats grow faster. A mother-in-law tongue plant will typically survive for five to ten years inside its home environment.

Mother-in-Law’s Tongue Propagation

Mother-in-law’s tongue plants are simple to grow. Leaf cuttings in water are the most effective way to propagate the plants. As a Sansevieria propagation technique, root division is also effective. You may also grow a new mother-in-law’s tongue by removing young shoots growing from the ground. Let’s take a closer look at how to propagate mother-in-law tongue plants in different ways.

How to propagate mother-in-law plant in water

Place a cut leaf from a healthy mother-in-law plant in a jar of water that is one-quarter full to propagate Sansevieria trifasciata in the water. Put the jar in the sun, but keep it indirect. Until the snake plant’s roots develop at the bottom of the pot, change the water every few days.

Plant it in an suitable potting medium once you have a rooted leaf cutting. Water should be well-drained and in full sun, but not in direct sun. As is customary, care for the new mother-in-law’s tongue plant.

How to propagate mother-in-law’s tongue with cuttings

Cut a section of leaf from a healthy snake plant and put it in a moist potting mix or sand to grow mother-in-law plant cuttings. In a few weeks, the Sansevieria will root. Before placing it in the soil, some individuals leave the cutting to dry for a few days to create a callus at the cut end. This prevents the blade from becoming contaminated by bacteria.

How to propagate mother-in-law’s tongue from division

Mother-in-law’s tongue plant can be grown by cutting the snake plant from its container and shaking off the soil from the roots. Cut the root (rhizome) into pieces with sharp, sterile shears. Fill a pot with the proper potting soil and plant the new Sansevieria trifasciata plants.

Make certain that each rhizome has at least one leaf in each portion when propagating mother-in-law’s language by the division technique. You help ensure that a fresh Sansevieria trifasciata plant grows in this manner.

Repotting a Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Snake Plant)

Plants of Sansevieria trifasciata are rarely repotted. A slow-growing plant that prefers to be rootbound, mother-in-law’s tongue is a good choice. If a snake plant grows too tall and threatens to topple over, it may be repotted. You may need to reroot it in a larger pot if the root system fills the pot.

You’ll have to repot your mother-in-law’s tongue plant in fresh, sterile soil if you notice signs of root rot. Always inspect the roots for signs of illness, such as brown and mushy roots, when repotting. Any unattractive roots should be snipped off.

Pruning Mother-in-law’s Tongue Plants

Snake plants don’t need much trimming. Controlling the size of a mother-in-law’s tongue, removing dead or old leaves, or restoring its shape are the only reasons to prune it. Use a clean sharp knife to cut through the thick leaf at the base of your snake plant. This will help your plant look better by allowing new branches to develop.

Pests Affecting Mother-in-law’s Tongue Growth

Snake plants may be infested with mealybugs and spider mites, which are common houseplant pests. These little insects suck the sap from the plant, which can harm its development. Leaves may turn yellow or brown as a result of this. The finest remedies for these destructive plant pests are usually soapy water or neem oil.

In dry environments, spider mites thrive. These little mites may be a big issue since mother-in-law’s tongue plants prefer dry soil. Webbing between or on the Sansevieria leaves is a sign of spider mites. Read this article on how to kill spider mites naturally for the best advice on getting rid of these bugs.

A kind of scale insect that leaves a white substance similar to cotton wool is known as mealybugs. Your plant will be harmed by these pests. This article can help you get rid of mealy bugs fast.

Diseases Affecting Mother-in-law’s Tongue Plants

If you are watering your mother-in-law’s tongue plants excessively, root rot may affect them. Roots rot in moist soil, and fungus diseases may soon destroy your snake plant if you don’t maintain it. Sansevieria plant diseases can only be treated by replacing the potting soil and cutting away the infected portion of the plant.

Mother-in-law’s Tongue Toxicity

Cats and dogs should not eat Sansevieria trifasciata plants. Pets who consume mother-in-law’s tongue plants may experience nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Varieties of Mother-in-law’s Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata)

Sansevieria trifasciata cultivars include ‘Futura Superba’ (left), ‘Futura Robusta’ (center), and ‘Black Gold’ (right). The mother-in-law’s tongue plant species has several intriguing cultivars:

  • Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Black Gold’—This snake plant has tough fibrous dark green leaves with a bright yellow border that grow to be 3 feet (1meter) long. The ‘Futura Superba,’ a smaller cultivar of this mother-in-law’s tongue, is available.
  • Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Futura Robusta’—Grayish-green striped patterns appear on sword-shaped leaves. It grows to be about 2 inches (0.6 meters) tall.
  • Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Golden Hahnii’—The snake plant forms a rosette pattern with short, stumpy leaves and is sometimes known as the “Bird’s Nest” Sansevieria. When cultivated in clusters, the plant looks best.

Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Golden Hahnii’

  • Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Laurentii’—With long pointed leaves that grow up to 4 feet (1.2 meters) tall, this is the tallest kind of mother-in-law’s tongue. Gray horizontal stripes and yellow margins characterize the green leaves.

Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Laurentii’

  • Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Twisted Sister’—The twisted leaves of the bent and distorted plants. The yellow and lime variegation on short green pointed leaves distinguishes the Sansevieria from other plants.

Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Twisted Sister’

FAQs About Caring for Mother-in-law’s Tongue

Why does my Sansevieria mother-in-law’s tongue have droopy leaves?

Snake plant leaves are frequently droopy as a result of poor growing conditions. Roots rot due to over-watering, causing the tops of the leaves to flop over. Only water the plant when the top 3 inches of soil is dry to remedy sagging snake leaves. It’s important to thoroughly water it when you do.

A mother-in-law’s tongue may also have a slumping appearance due to poor lighting. Despite the fact that it is a low-light plant, it cannot survive in total darkness. Put the plant in a more brighter place to revitalize it if you’re watering it properly and its leaves are drooping.

What do mushy leaves on a mother-in-law’s tongue mean?

Mother in law plants with mushy leaves are indicators of overwatering. If they sit in waterlogged soil, Sansevieria Trifasciata will die. Roots will rot on overly-moisture soil, and the leaves’ base will become mushy and soft. Repot the dying tongue plant in fresh, sterile potting soil to save it.

Why are my mother-in-law’s tongue leaves turn brown?

Over-watering a mother-in-law’s tongue plant is frequently indicated by brown leaf tips. There’s little you can do once the leaves develop brown patches or tips. To maximize the plant’s look, remove the whole leaf.

Why are my mother-in-law’s tongue leaves turn yellow?

The number one cause of yellowing Sansevieria leaves is over-watering. Hold off watering until at least half of the soil is dry before the leaves begin to yellow. Rather than fussing over your mother-in-law’s tongue, you may in many instances thank her for some neglect.

How do you know if Sansevieria is dying?

Yellow, limp leaves that are mushy at the base are a telltale symptom of a dying mother-in-law’s tongue. Unfortunately, root rot is already present due to these symptoms. As a result, you must act quickly to save your snake plant from death. Ultimately, to preserve the healthy portion of the plant, you might need to cut off the dead, soft leaves and roots.

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